Q+As are some of my favourite posts to read on blogs because it’s all opinions formed from experiences. I don’t want a company or a brand to tell me, “do this or that.” Instead, I love reading what works for other women and stealing others’ tips and tricks to apply to my life. I hope today’s Q+A helps you in that way… girlfriend to girlfriend.
I work as a Personal trainer full time and although I don’t consider myself a foodie or nutritionist, I still get ask questions HOURLY and I am taking the top questions and answering them here! Read on!
- How do you make your favourite recipes healthier?
It’s simple… I use Pinterest! If I’m ever craving something, I’ll go search for recipes. For example, I’ll google healthy pizza and follow a recipe. That’s how I started finding healthier alternatives. Now, I have my own recipes that I’ve tweaked to make them exactly how I like them.
If you’re new to healthy eating, this task may seem a bit challenging at first because you’re used to the original/not-so-healthy version. With time, you’ll start to recognize substitutions you can make very easily. For example, you can use a variety of flours like coconut flour, almond meal and more in place of traditional flour. I only use Spelt flour when I’m cooking or baking. Or leave the sugar out completely but add dark chocolate chips when you are baking. There are millions of options.
- Do you drink or can you drink wine while on a meal plan? How do you balance the two??
Let’s cut to it… yes! Wine – yes! Champagne – yes! Beer – yes! Alcohol – yes! Anything you want – yes! It’s all about moderation. If there’s a week (like on vacation) or a season (like summer) that I know drinks will be a regular part of my week, I try take an enjoy in moderation approach. I’ll have a drink and be sure to alternate drinks with a full glass of water. Or something I starting doing this summer is mixing my wine with sparkling water, half-half.
Also, a little tip I have is to prioritize healthy eating on days I am drinking. Skipping a meal is never a good idea with alcohol but I do enjoy the drinks a bit more when I’ve had a light, healthy meal.
- Do you count macros?
Not a lot of you know this but I “began” my healthy eating journey with a high protein, low carb diet, chicken breasts, boiled eggs, my fitness pal, fat burners, protein shakes, meal replacements. I’ve tried it all!!
Well, first I just tried eating healthy then when I wanted to “take it to the next level,” I started counting macros. Counting macros is an approach in which you allow yourself a certain amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates each day. You eat accordingly to your numbers by counting the macros in all that you’re eating each day.
So, I did that. What I think is beneficial about counting macros is that you’re in a macro mindset. We have to have an understanding and awareness of what we are eating and what the macros in it are. What I don’t like about counting macros is… counting. Oh my gosh, it took up so much time and I was constantly thinking of numbers. For me, it became really unhealthy and unenjoyable.
So, to answer the question… I don’t currently count macros but I eat in a way that takes it into consideration. I want to help you eat nutritiously in an enjoyable way, so I promote a different approach.
- How do you eat healthy at restaurants?
I never eat out at restaurants! or very rarely! When I eat out, I’ll enjoy a treat meal out.
Here’s what I do:
The most important part… I create my own portions. Restaurants have no sense of portion control, which is where eating at restaurants can quickly lead to weight and fat gain. But, that’s easy to solve. I almost always wrap up half my meal to take home (I eat what I can and I take the rest with to enjoy later)
The reason I never eat out is firstly, the portions are way to much and I can only eat half or less of what I ordered, secondly I can probably make it better. That sounds so vain…. but if I decide to have a treat meal and have pizza, I make the pizza at home with my Spelt flour, I can put on all the ingredients I want and as much cheese as I want. And avoid ever being disappointed. The same with nachos, we make it so so so much better ourselves. We have actually reserved tables at restaurants, and then last minute decided nah, go to the store, buy the ingredients, make it ourselves and enjoy a nice night in.
- Do you have any tips to eat more veggies?
Yes, it’s pretty simple… only eat the ones you like. Try a lot of different stuff and stock up on what you love. Or in the past I use to be a super picky eater and I tricked myself by making it with a creamy cheese sauce and bacon. Not the healthiest option but it helped me eat more veggies. Or I just mix it in with food, I’m weird like that. I could have all my food on a plate mixed, so if there is something I don’t like too much I just mix it together and eat everything.
- What do you think about eating Paleo? Vegetarian? Vegan?
When it comes to others, I encourage them to try all types of things. Vegetarian and vegan diets are often a decision made on bigger reasons than “trying to lose weight” and I think very highly of people who are passionate enough to lead a lifestyle based off what they feel is best for themselves, animals and the environment.
As far as diets like Paleo or Atkins, I have friends who’ve had great success with those. Personally my take is that I don’t follow any plans that restrict any types of foods. Saying “no” to particular food items creates a deprivation mindset, which can more easily lead to binging. I’m about everything in moderation. That’s just what works best for me!
- Have you ever had an eating disorder?
I almost didn’t want to include this question because it’s a very serious topic but I’ve seen this come up a lot. I’ve never personally had an eating disorder. I feel for all of those who have and my heart goes out to you. My clients always mention, “you can probably eat what you want all day and never pick up weight.” But surprise surprise, I have eaten what I wanted in the past, and as much as I wanted, and I stacked on the kilo’s as fast as the copious amounts of chocolate was reaching my lips.
I am not immune to gaining weight, yes I’m at a place now where I am very flexible with my eating, I know my body, and I know the signs, doesn’t mean I always listen to it. And then you will hear me complaining about my bloating and bad skin, but I know what triggers it. I eat when I am hungry, stop when I’m full, try and eat regularly and always make healthy options because it will make me feel good.
Trust me… it took me a few years, but I’m “there*” and it feels amazing, so keep up your hard work!
*”there” meaning having a healthy balanced relationship with food.